Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Flash Season 1, Episode 21: Grodd Lives

It's been a long time coming, but this week The Flash finally gave the fans what we've been wanting all season— a giant, telepathic gorilla!

Way back in the very first episode there was a throwaway scene in which Dr. Wells gave Barry a tour of the partially-destroyed STAR Labs, as they passed a broken cage labeled "GRODD."

And at long, long last, we finally get our Grodd episode. So how was it? Was The CW up to the task? Yes! Yes, they were. Grodd was appropriately terrifying, and looked far better than he had a right to look, especially on a TV budget. Kudos to the effects team!

Now that Iris has discovered Barry's secret, actress Candace Patton finally has something to do on the show. She puts in an excellent performance this week, proving that the problem with her character was the fault of the writers and not her.

Seriously, her transformation, while welcome, comes so fast it probably gave the audience whiplash. She went from a whining annoyance to fully realized and mature human being in the space of one episode. Kudos to the writers, but... why the hell did it take this long to get her right?

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
After discovering last week that Barry's really the Flash, Iris visits him and gives him one last chance to tell her the truth. He doesn't, but assures her he'll do everything in his power to find Eddie, who's been kidnapped by Dr. Wells. He then gets a call from the STAR Labs Gang, and awkwardly leaves, which doesn't sound like he's going to be looking for Eddie.

Meanwhile a masked gunman robs an armored truck carrying millions in gold. Barry arrives on the scene, but is assaulted by some sort of mental attack, as the robber gets away. Back at STAR Labs, Caitlin examines Barry but can find no reason for his attack. Just then Iris walks in, revealing that she knows Barry's secret, and confirming that STAR Labs apparently doesn't have a lock on their front door.

Iris rips Barry a new one for not telling her about the whole Flash thing. He gives her the old worn out excuse that he and Joe and Eddie and pretty much everyone on the show were just trying to protect her. She rightly points out that if she knew, she could have protected herself.

Another gold shipment is hijacked by the masked man (boy, there sure seems to be a lot of gold being transported in Central City!), but this time the Flash and the CCPD is ready for him. Barry knocks the gunman out cold and reveals him to be none other than the missing General Eiling!

The STAR Labs Gang puts Eiling in Dr. Wells' illegal secret super jail. As they question him, he says, "Eiling hurt me. I hurt Eiling. I am Grodd. Fear me!" Caitlin recognizes the name Grodd as the gorilla who was experimented on by Eiling and Wells months ago in STAR Labs. They realize that Eiling is being mentally controlled by the now telepathic gorilla! Joe also makes the mile-wide intuitive leap that Wells is using Grodd/Eiling to distract them from searching for him and Eddie.

Meanwhile Wells is holding Eddie in some sort of underground hideout while working on some futuristic doo-dad. Eddie questions Wells' claim that he's from the future. Wells tells him that the Thawne family is full of influential politicians and scientists, and Eddie is the most useless member of the line. "Waste of a life, waste of a man, and, oh no, you don’t even get the girl," Wells says, as he shows Eddie his future newspaper with the Iris West-Allen by-line. That's pretty cold.

The STAR Labs Gang tracks Grodd to the sewers, so Barry, Joe and Cisco head underground to find him. Grodd takes out Barry and captures Joe. When Joe wakens and sees the giant gorilla in front of him, he draws his gun. Before he can fire, Grodd uses his telepathy to force Joe to point the gun at his own head. He comes thisss close to making him fire before letting him go, as the audience runs to the other room to change their soiled drawers.

Cisco and Caitlin whip up a device to protect Barry from Grodd's telepathic blasts, and he heads back to the sewers to rescue Joe. He tries a supersonic punch, but somehow Grodd deflects him. He then lures Grodd into the path of an oncoming subway train, which hits and dispatches him... for now.

Now that Eiling is free of Grodd's influence, Barry lets him go. Of course Eiling reveals that he knows Barry's the Flash, and says they now have a common enemy— Dr. Wells.

Back in the underground bunker, Wells finishes work on his doo-dad. It's some sort of key, which activates what appears to be the particle accelerator. Wells says it's time for him to go back... to the future!

Thoughts:
• Brace yourselves: "Kneel Before Grodd" posts are coming!

• Captain Singh asks Barry and Joe if they know where the Flash is, because the police need his help. Would a police captain really want the help of a superpowered citizen? 

The Flash is a vigilante. A good vigilante yes, but a vigilante nonetheless. Seems like actively seeking out his help would open a big can of legal worms for the police department.

• A few weeks ago I marveled (!) at how apparently anyone can just waltz right into STAR Labs unannounced and unchallenged. Welp, looks like I was right. In this episode Iris walks in and surprises everyone and says she knows Barry's the Flash. 

Jesus, I work a marketing department and our building has stricter security than this lab full of dangerous equipment (and criminals!).

STAR Labs was partially destroyed in the particle accelerator explosion, so maybe she walked in through the giant hole in the wall.

• Back in Fallout (Episode 14), the Reverse Flash captured General Eiling and tossed him in the sewer, where he was apparently attacked and killed by Grodd. I knew Eiling wasn't dead— he's too good of an adversary to toss away so soon, and I was right.

• Barry visits Iris at the newspaper to try and explain himself. She's working late and is apparently the only one there. 

I don't know how things work in Central City, but when I worked at the newspaper there were reporters there at all hours, day and night. That was a few years ago though— with the sad decline of the newspaper industry, maybe this really is the way things are now.

• When Joe suggests searching the sewer for Grodd, Cisco is less than enthusiastic, saying it's full of roaches, feces, C.H.U.D.s and "R.O.U.S.s."

OK, I'm not too proud to admit I had to look up what the hell "R.O.U.S." means. Turns out it means "Rodents Of Unusual Size." Sorry guys, I've only seen The Princess Bride twice in my life.

• In the comics, Gorilla Grodd became a super intelligent, telepathic ape (along with the rest of his tribe) when a radioactive spaceship crashed near his African home (always with the radiation). 

Grodd and another intelligent ape named Solovar then constructed a secret and advanced metropolis called Gorilla City. The gorillas lived there in peace until humanity encroached on their city, and Grodd began trying to wipe mankind from the planet. He then clashed quite often with the Flash.

• "GRODD HATE BANANAS!"

• In the sewer, Grodd telepathically forces Joe to aim his gun at his own head.  You know, for a horrifying moment I thought they were really going to kill him off.

• When the show first started teasing Grodd's appearance, I wondered if they'd actually have him talk, or if he'd just "speak" telepathically. I said it would most likely be the latter, as that would be easier— and less silly looking— than animating his lips. Looks like I was right!

• Play the Flash "Grodd Lives" Drinking Game! Take a shot every time Barry says to Iris, "I'll find Eddie no matter what!"

• Speaking of finding Eddie— back in Tricksters (Episode 17), the Trickster hid a bomb somewhere in Central City. Barry used his super speed to search inside every building in town to find it. So why doesn't he do the same thing here to locate Eddie? Other than because there are still two more episodes to go in the season.

• When Barry's searching for Grodd in the sewer, Iris looks at a display on a STAR Labs monitor. She asks Caitlin if the red dot represents Barry, and she says yes. She then asks what the blue dot represents. Well gosh, Iris, since it's clearly labeled "GRODD" in 48 point type, offhand I'd say it represents the giant telepathic gorilla everyone's searching for.

To be fair, they may have added the helpful graphic in post, long after Iris spoke those lines.

Iris is definitely playing the Cabbage Head™ in this episode, asking what everything means so that Cisco and Caitlin can explain it to her, and thus to the audience.

• We all suspected Cisco was nothing short of a genius, but this episode confirmed it. Somehow he's able to control the steam pipes in the sewers (from his computer yet) to herd Grodd to Barry's location.

• Did you catch Grodd scaling Central City's equivalent of the Empire State Building at the near of the episode?

• Wells telling Eddie that he doesn't do anything interesting with his life or end up with Iris worries me. I have a bad feeling Eddie's going to sacrifice himself to try and prevent Eobard Thawne from ever being born.

• So Dr. Wells is holed up in a subterranean hideout, while Cisco, Caitlin and Barry continue to work in STAR Labs. The STAR Labs that Wells built. Does that seem right? Shouldn't Wells have changed the locks or at the very least hung up a CLOSED sign?

Where exactly is Wells' hideout? At the end it looks for all the world like he's inside the particle accelerator. Unless there are two of them in Central City, it's looking a lot like Wells is hiding right under the STAR Labs Gang's feet!

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